Lifestyle

Dear Coleen: I'm angry my husband lets our daughter swear and look at iPad all day


Dear Coleen

My husband went part time when our daughter was two so I could go back to work full time, and she’s now five.

It made sense at the time because he was happy to do it and I can earn more money in my job.

I’m fine being back at work but for the past 18 months we’ve argued a lot over his parenting style, which is pretty relaxed.

He lets her watch the iPad a lot, to the point where I think she’s become quite addicted to it, and he doesn’t discipline her over things that I feel are important.

She went through a phase of saying swearwords and he just thought it was funny and said it would pass.

I was the one who ended up in the head’s office explaining it and taking the flak because other parents complained.

I’m grateful to him for being there for our daughter, but I would do things differently (file photo)

I’m grateful to him for being there for our daughter, but I would do things differently and feel like I can’t complain.

They’re also as thick as thieves and she only wants him to read her a story at night so I’m starting to feel like a spare part in my own home.

Coleen says

I think you have to be a bit careful because he has done a great job and it was the right decision for the family.

I also think it’s fabulous that he and your daughter have such a close ­relationship.

Trust me, it would be a lot worse if you’d had to go back to work, leaving your daughter crying because she wanted you all the time.

All parents, regardless of which partner takes on the lion’s share of childcare, disagree over what’s best for their kids and one parent is usually softer than the other.

In my last marriage, I was the soft one, and my husband Ray was always much stricter. Even now we’re divorced, we still disagree, but accept that we fulfil different roles.

However, what you and your husband must agree on is that you don’t disagree in front of your daughter because kids are brilliant at playing one parent off against the other.

If you’re telling her off, even if he doesn’t agree with you, he should back you up and you can discuss it later.

It’s not nice if you feel like the bad guy all the time, so talk to him about meeting you halfway

It’s not nice if you feel like the bad guy all the time, so talk to him about meeting you halfway. There are ­probably also some things that you could lighten up on.

For example, most kids, however well behaved, go through phases of being cheeky or using naughty words – it’s all part of growing up and learning boundaries.

But he shouldn’t laugh when your daughter swears – that will just encourage her.

He’s probably letting her get away with more than you do simply because he spends more time with her and sometimes it’s just easier to give in to certain things.

You have to pick your battles.

Remember that while your job is demanding and stressful at times, so is being a parent full time. It’s perfectly fine to have different parenting styles, but you should be able to find ­compromises over some things.





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